T. it.: “Il vecchio e il nuovo”; Scen.: Sergej M. Ejzenštejn, Grigorij Alexandrov; F.: Eduard Tissé; Scgf.: V. Kovrigin, V. Rahal’s; Ass. R.: Maksim Štrauch, Mihail Gomorov; Int.: Marfa Lapkina (la donna), M. Ivanin (suo figlio), Vas’ja Buzenkov (segretario della cooperativa), Nežnikov (maestro Mitroškin); Prod.: Sovkino; 35mm. D.: 13’ a 24 f/s.
Naum Kleiman: The first version of the film (the one with the parade of tractors and the meeting between modern tractor driver Marfa and the boy who’s a former tractor driver) was banned by the censors. Eisenstein and Alexandrov were called to the Kremlin. Stalin made a big show, pretending to stand aside while Molotov and Vorochilov criticized the film. It was Stalin who found another title : Staroe i novoe (The Old and the New). He also imposed the filming of the pathetic ending, an episode called “Assault on the Earth” in which the tractors indeed make an assault on the earth. Everything was filmed in the sovkoze “Gigant” (“the Giant”). We only had a description of this version. Then, one day during a FIAF congress in Moscow in the sixties, I encountered Jacques Ledoux who told me that in Belgium they had a copy that had been distributed in their country and that contained “Assault on the Earth”. We had them send it to us, and using the two copies we obtained one complete one. The question now is: did the original Russian copy have the same editing as the Belgian copy? Is it possible that the Belgians changed the editing? The intertitle list provides no help because, in 1928, Eisenstein was on the verge of leaving so he left everything in the hands of others. The main difference between the intertitles for the two versions is this: in General’naja linija (The General Line) they speak of a cooperative, meaning that the property is collectively owned, whereas in Staroe i novoe that term is replaced by kolchoz, which means that the property no longer belonged to the farmers.